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Tamar Valley Storytellers: Fiona Stocker

Updated: Feb 22

Fiona Stocker was raised on the Lancashire coast and in Holland. After studying at Warwick University, she worked in the arts in London for ten years, before taking a trip to Australia, and staying. She now lives on a property in the West Tamar Valley with her family and, until recently, ran a farm and food business with her husband. Her rural memoir, Apple Island Wife – Slow Living in Tasmania, was published by UK publisher Unbound in 2018. She writes regularly for Forty South Tasmania magazine, about food, people and landscapes, and her work has appeared in national and international publications including Graziher and BBC Travel. In 2015, she published a history of farming women in Tasmania, A Place in the Stockyard, commissioned by Tasmanian Women in Agriculture. Fiona is currently enrolled in the Master of Arts in Writing and Literature at Deakin University. She writes nonfiction and fiction with a particular interest in landscape and nature writing, and the unwritten stories of women’s lives. Read more about Fiona on her website or Instagram and Facebook @fionastockerwriter

1. Finish this sentence:

"If I had all the time in the world, I would..." I would fly by private jet to Sissinghurst Castle Gardens in the UK. I’ve just written a short story set there for my Masters in Creative Writing, and now would like to visit! This would require all the money, as well as all the time in the world.

2. How does the Tamar Valley influence your writing?

My first book, Apple Island Wife, is a rural memoir about moving here, a deliberately uplifting book, and a wry, humorous look at life. Even there, I wanted to capture the magic of the landscape. Increasingly, landscape and our place in it is what I think about.

3. Describe for us where you write.

I can write anywhere! I have an office in my house, but I also write in bed, I’m writing this at the dining room table, I write standing up in the kitchen, although crumbs are a hazard on a keyboard. I write in cafes, and usually tag them on my Instagram account. I’m very good at tuning out teenagers and husbands.

4. What themes are you exploring?

I love reading and writing with a strong sense of place, whether it’s wilderness, or the Sissinghurst gardens, or Virginia Woolf’s writing room. And I always like discovering the untold stories about women’s lives.

5. What are you working on?

Saddleback Wife – Gourmet Farming in Tasmania, the story of our farm and food business. Edge of the World, a collection of writing about Tasmania’s wild places. Sissinghurst Day, a collection of short stories inspired by great women writers and where they wrote. Food Stories of Tasmania. And down the track, some ‘How To’ books on writing.

6. What's your favourite read so far this year?

Helen Garner’s collected essays, Everywhere I Look. Moving, hilarious, poignant.


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